Saturday, 24 March 2012

Upcoming Events

Here are some events and a new book that might be of interest to readers.

Transnational Solidarities

This conference will explore the ways in which activists have embraced the causes of groups – or even entire nations – of which their knowledge and experience was often limited. Taking place at Northumbria University on Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April, the event hopes to discuss such themes as the relationship between ‘solidarity’ and ‘philanthropy’; and the domestic implications of transnational campaigns. You can download the provisional programme for this event here. Places are limited; to register for this event, please send an email to by 23 March. Please specify whether you intend to come for both days or only for one day.

Venice and the Cultural Imagination

This new book, edited by Michael O'Neill, Mark Sandy and Sarah Wootton, has just been published by Pickering and Chatto. The interdisciplinary Venice and the Cultural Imagination: 'This Strange Dream upon the Water' explores the representation of Venice in Western culture (poetry, fiction, art, music, film) since 1800, with particular attention to artistic and cultural legacies and the relationships between art and money, history and myth.

Spaces of (Dis)location

This two-day multidisciplinary graduate conference is hosted by the College of Arts, University of Glasgow, and takes place on 24th - 25th May 2012. The notion that ideas of space and location - whether physical or metaphysical, real or imaginary - are evolving provides the stimulus for a conference that aims to inspire creativity and debate across many subjects in the arts and humanities. See the conference website for more information. 

Stanza Stones

Stanza Stones, a Poetry Trail from Marsden to Ilkley, is a new collaboration between imove, Ilkley Literature Festival, Simon Armitage and Pennine Prospects, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Simon Armitage and some of Yorkshire’s most talented young writers, dancers and film makers celebrate the Pennine landscape in a series of performances combining dance, poetry, bicycles and film. The project also includes a series of walks as well as a stone carving workshop.
The events are free but must be booked in advance,

And don't forget the most important date of all - the Spaces in Theory Trip to Shandy Hall, Friday 18th May. Email us to register your place before Friday 30th March. It's proving popular so make sure you've got a seat on the bus!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Spaces in Theory trip - Literary Houses: Theory and Practice

We're excited to announce that on Friday the 18th of May we will be holding the reading group at Shandy Hall, the literary house where Laurence Sterne lived and wrote his most famous works. Attendees will also be able to view the Precious Cargo exhibition, which explores Sterne’s epistolary relationship with Mrs Eliza Draper as she sailed back to India on an East India vessel.

We hope the location, the readings (to be confirmed) and the exhibition will inspire discussion and debate on such themes as literary pilgrimage and tourism, Empire, site-specific writing, artists/writers in residence, and the interpretation of historic spaces and places through art installations and curatorial practice.

Places are limited, so we ask that all postgraduates and staff book their places before Friday 30th of March by emailing There will be a small fee of £4.50, payable on the day. We will set off from Northumbria at 1pm and full travel information will be circulated before the trip.

For more on Shandy Hall and the Laurence Sterne Trust visit Information about the Precious Cargo exhibition can also be found here:

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Summary of February's Meeting

On Tuesday we achieved the seemingly impossible feat of connecting Derridean theory and medieval Robin Hood ballads. To summarize:

Laurie began by discussing the notion of hospitality and the ways in which it has been theorized. This led us to ask: should hospitality be understood, and practiced, as an economic pact, or as a gesture of (potentially disastrous) openness? And what do we mean when we talk about 'hospitality' - what kind of personal, social and geographic boundaries are involved? Can we talk about all these things at once - does Derrida? And how successfully?

This led us on to the Robin Hood ballad and Robin's own 'hospitable' practices. We discussed the ways in which Robin positions himself as a greenwood host, and what this says about his social, economic and spatial position.  We talked a little more generally about the ballad itself and its contexts of production. We also idly wondered why the otherwise sparse ballad describes the many birds Robin eats for dinner in such minute detail ! "There fayled none so litell a birde / That ever was bred on bryre."

Thanks to all who came to another enjoyable session.

Finally, we will have some exciting news soon  regarding a 'Spaces in Theory' excursion. Details will follow shortly.